Monday, 5 October 2015

30 September, 201 Diana Krall ‘Wallflower Tour’ at the Royal Albert Hall *****

Who but Diana Krall would scotch rumors of a split with her husband in song? The Harry Woods number  We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye (with a tweak to the original lyric) said it all and provided an upbeat start to a set that was the usual eclectic mix; one which somehow seems random (the Krall catalogue on shuffle) and at the same time chosen with exquisite care.

Miss Krall was in excellent voice. That is to say very, very husky and with a timbre reminiscent of Acker Bilk’s clarinet playing below the break. It is the sheer versatility and range of her music that sells out halls and stadia in every corner of the globe. She can segue effortlessly from a folksy ballade of the 1920’s (Wallfower) to a Fats Waller standard (I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter) with stride piano improvisation of dizzying virtuosity; from the raunchy (A Case of You) to the sublimely moving final number (Boulevard of Broken Dreams).

There is a simplicity and an endearing self-effacement in her manner. Introductions and chat are kept to a minimum. She is, rightly, generous in her praise of her collaborating musicians. Numbers often start with a doodle on the keyboard, which transforms seamlessly into an introduction all very redolent of Ellington, as is the simple elegance and lightness of touch of some of her improvisatory lines. But she is equally capable of pianistic fireworks with block chords and harmonies of complex tonal colors.

Judging by many of the comments in social media when for a brief moment it seemed that Diana Krall might be single again, I am just one of many, many thousands who revel in the sheer sexiness of the whole package. Oh God – that voice! 

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